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Parents of 8th grader fighting to keep him from being forced into special education classes.

Plainfield, IL |

Child has learning issues but is highly intelligent. He has behavioral issues that have been exacerbated by negative attitudes from teachers and even his assigned "support" person. Parents feel strongly that the teaching staff has not been cooperative with their attempts to interact and support their child's educational process. Things are to the point that it is not in the child's best interest to attend the school for the upcoming school year.

What options do the parents have to address this issue and do they need the support of a knowledgeable attorney?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    The parents certainly DO need to contact a special education attorney in their state! Be aware that there is a statute of limitation if the parent has a complaint about the provision of special education services to the student. If the student is already receiving special education services while in the general education setting and the parents are unhappy with the public school’s newly proposed IEP and are considering private school placement, there are specific required procedures that must be followed prior to the private school placement if the parents want to seek reimbursement from the public school for the private school’s costs.
    On the other hand, if the student is not currently eligible for special education services and the parents do not agree to an initial evaluation, the school may be able to pursue an initial evaluation of the student by utilizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) procedures, including mediation or a due process hearing, in order to obtain an agreement or a ruling that the evaluation may be conducted. This rarely happens.
    However, even in the event that the school forced an evaluation through these procedures, the parents can refuse at the conclusion of the evaluation to consent to the initial placement into special education services. If the parent refuses to consent to the placement into special education services, the school may not use IDEA procedures in order to obtain agreement or a ruling that services may be provided to the student.
    Best of luck!


  2. There does not appear to be a question here. If you are asking if there is anything you can do, I don't think so. I assume that you are not the parent or the school. You would not have standing to intervene in this matter, if there even was something to intervene in. This is the parents choice on how to handle their children, no one else.


  3. A couple of points are important here.

    One, placement of a student in special education generally begins with an evaluation for special education services. Such an evaluation generally cannot take place unless parents consent to have their child evaluated. Technically, a school could go to a state due process hearing in order to initiate the evaluation process, but this is extraordinarily unlikely, and I've never seen it happen. In short, without parent consent, a student generally will not end up in special education.

    That being said, and important question here is why the parents don't want their child to be evaluated for special education services. There's nothing wrong with receiving such services, and it certainly doesn't mean a child is unintelligent. Some kids simply need the extra support that special education provides. If an evaluation determines that the student needs services, the parents should at the very least consider such services.


  4. First advise the parents to contact a special education attorney to discuss the specifics of their child's situation. Having a learning disability does not equate to being dumb, geniuses often have learning deficiencies that need to be addressed.
    These are complicated legal and administrative matters that must be assessed by a special education lawyer familiar with the facts. You can find an attorney here on Avvo by using the find an attorney tab.
    Best of luck.

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  5. In our state, they are entitled to a pile of due process and should engage special ed counsel soonest.